After everything that had happened to me, I slept that night peacefully. I awoke early in the morning as Kyle was taking Miguel and William on bawn patrol. Jonathon continued to study with Ryan on his Rites.
As it became afternoon, Kyle gathered Bjorn, Eli, John, and myself together for more klaive duel training. He showed us a new move called a feint. I paired off with Bjorn as usual and John and Eli paired up. We took turns practicing our feint maneuver.
Once we were comfortable with the new technique, Kyle gathered us together. He wanted to create a sort of mock tournament with us utilizing all of the techniques we had learned. I was paired up against John and Eli was against Bjorn.
My match with John went horribly. We squared off in Homid form and my size and strength cost me dearly. I wasn’t invested in hurting John since this was merely a practice. I tried to disarm, but was disarmed in response. I channeled my Rage to shift into Glabro form, one that I rarely used to equalize the battle, and grab my weapon. I came back to attack again with a solid feint, but John managed to knock me out with a strike to my head.
Kyle stopped the fight and woke me up. I shifted back into Glabro to heal up and reflect on my loss. While I rested, Bjorn and Eli fought. The battle continued much longer than my fight with John. It was a back and forth fight until Kyle yelled at Eli to consider the loss of his packmates that could happen in a fight. This pushed Eli to fight harder. He channeled his Rage and finally overcame Bjorn.
What happened next was a bit of shock. Kyle flipped out saying that Eli could have ended the fight, that we weren’t taking it seriously, and we were worthless. He threw his bat into the woods and went into the bawn. After my loss, it certainly didn’t make me feel any better.
Mackie heard the commotion and opened the cabin door. He called us over and asked about our dueling. We told him things were going fine until Kyle lost it. He then asked if we wanted to talk with him.
Initially, no one spoke up. We really didn’t have much to talk about until Eli mentioned being outnumbered by the other Septs and what do we do. Bjorn also wondered about balancing everything in life. Mackie decided it was time for a drink and a chat. Although I was a bit more accustomed to drinking, I still didn’t prefer it, but it was best not to be difficult about things.
Mackie told the rest to get things ready in the cabin as he had me walk with him. He told me about how he seen me lose and not to take it too hard. He elbowed me a little, as he said, “not that he knew anything about losing.” I know he was trying to cheer me up, but it didn’t really help as losing here might mean losing later, and I didn’t want to risk not being about to help and protect my pack.
We all sat down together and took a drink as Mackie laid down the hard truth. He admired us for going to school and holding down jobs, but being a Garou comes first. We needed to grow up because these things would cause us problems, especially the human relationships. I didn’t like that notion because without any real joy or happiness in our lives I thought you would be more prone to Harano. Still, I continued listening intently.
The battle with Samuel Haight was great and we were recognized for this, but these things happen all the time so we shouldn’t dwell on it. There would be another fight and they typically came to you instead of you looking for it.
Eli asked about respecting those of greater rank and vice versa. Would we always do as they say? Mackie told us no, but we would have to remain respectful in our answers. Unfortunately, as Mackie told us, this could create an enemy for life if we weren’t careful.
Bjorn asked about the Mages after meeting them in my Chimare. Mackie knew nothing of them as they were simply not in the homeland. We took another drink and Mackie told us it was fine that we were doing things that we wanted to do like jobs and school, but just to remember to be Garou first. With that, we took a double shot and left the cabin, finishing our discussion with Mackie.
After this, I needed to arrange a date with Kenith. I was somewhat nervous as this would be my first real date with a guy since before my pregnancy. I called the law office and got a secretary. I arranged for the date to take place Friday and to be picked up at the Worstell Hotel.
Eli borrowed my phone afterwards and decided to quit his job, dedicating himself entirely to Garou affairs. I suppose it was a good notion for him, but I couldn’t do it. We spent the rest of the day doing minor things around the Sept before heading to sleep.
As we slept, we were all given the same vision of a natural bridge near the ocean. Hellhounds appeared taunting us with the threat of our impending death. Their insides exploded and a huge worm with teeth appeared. I felt like I was drowning and awoke to choking on seawater. I spit it out as we all woke up at the same time.
We woke up everyone at the Sept to tell them of the vision we seen. Mackie told us that spirits send visions. We mulled over what it could mean. Some thoughts included things about vampires and the Wyrm, but Crafty said to not worry about it. Things would take their course.
With that, Mackie noticed the bottled water had turned black. The water was a black, sludge like consistency from being slightly tainted by the Wyrm. Crafty looked worried and headed into the back, near the river. He returned saying things appeared fine with the water. As Mackie poured out the tainted water, it created ripples moving in the direction of the ocean. Mackie told us it was a message. I asked if I should cleanse the water to prevent it from spreading farther into the Sept, but Mackie said the taint was minor and to not worry about it.
With that, Eli had me take us into the Umbra. I was a little worried since I didn’t have as much spiritual strength as Jonathon, but I managed to do it quite successfully. At least I was able to do one thing right today. We headed towards the river and noticed no water spirits. There was Wyrm taint in the river on the bawn, but it had not made it to the caern. What was more disconcerting was that Mabe had not detected anything. We left the Umbra and decided to cancel our dates to investigate our vision.
I felt bad rescheduling after I had just made the date. I made up an excuse of a sewer problem and told Kenith’s secretary I would call back to reschedule. John called Regina, who was agitated about not seeing him. The kinfolk took it a lot better knowing the stakes involved.
The vision happened at night, so we had time to kill. Eli and I went into the caern to meditate. I replenished with spiritual energy I could from the spirits. John tried to contact his ancestors and learn about the worm we seen. It would normally be a sea lamprey feeding on sea creatures, but this one was obviously supernatural. He also learned that the Celtic hellhounds were a representation of death much like the Grim Reaper was to us in America.
With ourselves prepared, we headed to the Natural Bridges State Park. There we saw the bridge from our dreams. We waited throughout the day as beachgoers enjoyed their time. However, as it got dark, the beachgoers seemed to get uneasy and some looked sick. They left as night fell and we climbed the natural bridge to get ready for what was coming.
I could tell the water was tainted and it was rising unnaturally. It only came up around the bridge where we stood. We all shifted to Crinos form and prepared for the inevitable. Without warning, a high-pressure jet of water came from nowhere and stuck Eli hard.
From the ocean, a massive water elemental rose up. It had to have been 25 feet tall at least. John leapt onto the water elemental attacking it and managing to stay on it with effort kicking his feet. I was nervous as I had never encountered anything like this before. I wasn’t even sure if I could leap far enough to hit it. Still, we all leapt at it and I managed to get to it.
We all worked at striking it, but I was faring no better at fighting than I was the day before. John’s legs gave out and he dropped to the ocean floor. Things were not looking good as sharks appeared beneath the elemental. Instead of attacking us, they attacked the water elemental. Eli managed to deliver the finishing blow to the manifested spirit and we tumbled to now normal ocean.
As we made our way back to the beach, two of the sharks shifted into Homid form. I had never heard of other shapeshifters before so this was eye opening for me. One of the two came forward and held a necklace that seemed to enable him to talk to us in our heads. His name was Great Tooth, he was a Rokea, and he had been following and fighting this elemental since it manifested in the physical world.
He had been near the beaches waiting for what he called a dirtwalker. We inquired about what that was and he told us it was a Rokea who stayed on land instead of the sea. He would stay for three turns of the Great Wound. We asked what that meant and he drew us a picture of the sun. He would be here for three days until he found the dirtwalker.
We asked what could make the elemental of such power and he told us it was the drown one, also known as the sunken king. We asked if we could help, but the Rokea implied for us stay out of it. We chatted with him a little more and learned a little of their language and how they describe the Triat. Great Tooth’s partner sounded off for him to return and he left without saying a word.
With our work done, we returned to the Sept to tell Mackie. He told us again that things would come to us. We rescheduled our dates. Eli was concerned with me being distanced from the pack, but he devised a way to be near in case something happened. Quetzal also had the ability to open a Moon Bridge right to their location so things were ok.
We all got ready for our dates the following morning. I got myself dressed in the dress I had bought with Gina and we gathered up. Gina picked us up, and then picked up Regina. We tried chatting a little with her on the way there, but it was mostly unimportant small talk. It was obvious we really didn’t have much in common. Gina dropped me off at the hotel and I waited for Kenith to have me picked up.
Right at about 1 pm, a white limo approached and a female chauffeur came out. She asked if I was Caitlyn and I told her yes. She said Kenith had things to do for the day and she was to get me ready for our date. We went in the limo to a store called Neiman Harris. There, a man was waiting for us and the chauffeur gave him a credit card. He was told to find me a dress. Even though I already had one on, I went ahead with it.
I got a lovely black dress that went down to about my knees. It was a modest dress and I appreciated the fact it wouldn’t demean me. After getting my dress, it was paid for on the credit card and we left to head to a salon to get my hair done. They did a wonderful job feathering my hair and making it fuller. After this, I was taken to get my nails done with a full manicure and pedicure. They painted them a wonderful candy apple red.
Once this was done, I was taken to a spa where they gave me a full body treatment. I sat in a sauna for a while, then had a mud bath, followed by a full body message. I had never been pampered like this before, but it was great. I had only seen this kind of thing on TV and it was better than it looked. After my spa treatment, the chauffeur took me on a tour of San Francisco. It was nice to get to know the area so I wouldn’t be lost the next time I visited. I was eager to see Kenith.
[Eli, Bjorn, and John’s dates…]
Eli and Bjorn decided to go to a different restaurant than John as he took Regina to Red Lobster. At the restaurant with John, Regina asked him if they were an item. She said they weren’t spending enough time together and she wasn’t sure if she should be looking for other guys. John just told her to tell other guys she had a boyfriend and he would murder them if they tried anything. Satisfied and obviously turned on, they abruptly left the restaurant.
Eli and Bjorn sat with Lindsey and Gina at their restaurant. Lindsey asked Eli if she should quit her job and focus more on school. She felt she would be worthless if she couldn’t conceive or get a good job. If she stayed at her job, her boss had obvious designs on having sex with her, but without a job she wouldn’t have any money. Eli offered to take care of her and told her she would never be worthless.
Bjorn spoke with Gina about a conversation involving No Hands and her mother. She overheard them talking about the Shannon Johnson incident. Apparently, No Hands had managed to smooth things over and Lightning Claws was treating her better. No Hands believed it was a ploy by Prestige to stir up trouble and gain more allies in the Sept of the Three Waters. From that, he would cause more trouble and build more allies. It was obvious Prestige was trying to take over leadership of the Sept and the White Lion’s Pride pack was just collateral damage in the process.
After eating their food, Bjorn contacted John and told him they were going to the Golden Gate Bridge to watch the sunset.
[Back to Caitlyn…]
For dinner, Kenith’s chauffeur took me to a restaurant named Harris. I had never heard of it, but I could tell from the outside it was expensive. I sat around for what had to have been 20 minutes when Kenith finally showed up. He apologized for being so late, but I didn’t hold it against him since I had to postpone our date yesterday.
We ordered some wine and began to have a pleasant conversation. He wanted to know about me and I told him many things, obviously lying a little here and there to not break the Veil. I didn’t want to tell him my true location so I fudged an address around the area. Still, he paid close attention and I could tell he was actually interested in me instead of just sex.
The waiter came back and Kenith ordered some veal. I wasn’t sure what to order so I told them to give me the same. I asked him about himself and he told me he was studying to be a lawyer. He worked for his father and whatever he didn’t spend on his business account he was able to use for himself. It allowed him to provide these nice dates. The veal came and I got to try it for the first time. It was really tender and very good. Of course, I would haven’t expected any less considering how upscale the restaurant was.
[At the Golden Gate Bridge…]
Bjorn used his new gift Open Seal in order to break into one of the towers on the Golden Gate Bridge. The couples were having a good time as they sat and watched the sunset. Regina though, seemed antsy, and it was obvious she wanted to spend some quality time with John. John stalled for a little bit and asked the other packmates about getting a somewhat cheap hotel. Lindsey offered to do so, but Eli told her not to do it. Eli used some money and had Lindsey get three rooms at a cheap, but not bad hotel.
With each of the couples in their own rooms, they all had their sexual encounters with each other. Lindsey and Eli had a blast while John and Regina went at ferociously. Bjorn was trying to get Gina to go a little wilder and she asked him to turn on the TV so no one would hear them. Bjorn turned on the TV and started having sex when a breaking newscast came on the TV. Bjorn stopped for a brief moment to hear the news.
The newscaster said that Officer Kent Wells had been killed during a foot chase with a suspect. At the same time, his son Brent accidently fell out of his second story bedroom window, hitting the pool deck and suffering severe brain damage. Brent was in a coma at the time and the newscaster sent his regards for a speedy recovery for Brent.
Gina asked if something was wrong, but Bjorn just told her it was nothing, thinking it involved William. In truth, it did involve William, and someone was obviously covering William’s tracks. Who did it though, was unknown to the pack. Afterwards, the couples finished up having sex and went to bed.
[Back to Caitlyn…]
After finishing most of my meal, Kenith offered to have dessert. I accepted, but I didn’t know what to order. He suggested the crème brûlée, which I had only heard of, but not ever tried. They brought the flaming custard out to us shortly after ordering. It was actually delicious and lemon flavored.
After finishing our dessert, Kenith offered to give me his personal number. He opened up his briefcase and I saw a picture of Logan’s father from the vision I had that one night in the Sept. He looked older, for obvious reasons, but I was sure it was him. I didn’t say anything to him about it, but I wondered what Kenith had to do with him. He then gave me two numbers, a pager number and his personal cell phone. The pager was for emergencies.
After giving me a number, he asked if there was anything I wanted to do. I suggested we could watch a movie at his place. We headed back to his apartment, which was pretty nice. We sat down to watch Pretty Woman, which there was a slight bit of irony not lost on me. He popped some popcorn in an older air popper and sat it down next to me.
After a little while of watching the movie, I decided to climb on top of him and make love to him. I had just recovered from losing my mind entirely and I wanted this. He was a bit cool to the touch, but was very good at treating me right. We had sex for quite some time, switching positions several times, before I felt satisfied. With that, I feel asleep next to him.
[Back to the hotel…]
Bjorn was awoken to the sound of Gina’s phone ringing. Checking the caller id, he realized it was Lisa. He woke Gina up and she talked on the phone for a moment. There was obvious concern in her voice. She said to stay calm and she would send the guys over. Hanging up the phone, she told Bjorn that Lisa was frightened by a guy creeping around her house.
Bjorn got the rest of the pack up and gathered them together. John snuck out, not wanting to wake Regina up. He left a note going out to get some food in case she woke up.
I awoke to Quetzal telling me to meet up with the pack. I quickly got dressed in my old dress and found Kenith watching TV. I told him I didn’t realize how late it was and I needed to go. He asked if anything was wrong. I kissed him and told no and I would contact him later. I grabbed up my belongings and headed out of his apartment. I ducked into a back alley and had Quetzal make a Moon Bridge to the rest of the pack.
After getting together with the rest of the pack, Quetzal once again opened a Moon Bridge to an alleyway near Lisa’s house. We made our way to her house and ducked into the backyard. There, we saw a man attempting to attach a camera to a tree pointing into her house. John shook the tree and the man finally noticed us.
He asked us what we were doing and Eli responded asking the same of him. He told us he was doing his job as an investigator. We asked him his name and he responded with Carl Kolchak. He asked us ours. I didn’t mind giving him my real name, but the other pack members chose to give him fake names, which clearly made him annoyed.
The conversation went back and forth for a while with him demeaning us about being kids and us telling him his actions were illegal before we finally got to the important aspect: William. He had been looking into William’s appearance at the Fourth of July party. Bjorn mentioned if he had anything to do with Kent Wells. He said yes and Bjorn mentioned he died tonight and his son was severely injured. Carl responded that Brent had died at midnight.
The pack was clearly getting agitated before I finally stepped forward and tried to politely ask him what he was doing. I told him we only seen William during the party looking to spend his money before heading south.
He merely wanted a picture of Tom Carter, Lisa’s father. He thought he might have something to do with William, but it seemed like he was implying there was something more. Still, we agreed to let him take his picture, though it may be some time since Tom worked late on software development and Lisa’s mother had died a year ago. We told him we would give his camera back tomorrow at 5 pm so he wouldn’t have to return and scare Lisa again. He agreed to this and tipped his hat to us, leaving in a beat-up car.
I went into the house and found Lisa. I told her things were going to be all right. With things taken care of, the rest of the pack headed back to the hotel to spend time with their girlfriends. I had Quetzal open another Moon Bridge back to the Sept since I didn’t want to be a fifth wheel. It had been a couple of days of ups and downs, but I laid down that night glowing with happiness from the night with Kenith.
I hoped the rest of the pack had a fun time as I said a prayer for myself and fell asleep…